Panama Hats are 100% handwoven in Ecuador. The straw comes from a palm that only grows in Ecuador, specially on the coast. It is know as Carludovica Palmata or toquilla palm.
The process begins when the toquilla palm leaves are carefully selected and harvested, also by hand.
The palm is cut into thin fibers, the thiner the fiber the finer will be the straw used for the weave.
The cut leaves are boiled until they reach a soft texture and the chlorophyll evaporates, turning the green fiber into beige straw.
After boiling, the straw is hung in the open air, under the shade to dry. Once ready, the straw travels to Cuenca and Montecristi, the regions where most of weavers live.
The traditional weaving of a panama hat starts from the crown, all the way down to the brim. It could take three days or up to 8 months to weave a single hat. The the thiner the straw, the longer it takes to weave the hat.
The time spend, the skill of the weaver and the quantity of knots in a square centimeter will determinate the grade of the hat. The higher the grade the more expensive and rare the hat.
After weaving, the next step is to give a shape to the hat. There are many different styles for the brims and crowns of the hats. These styles are created with pre heated molds that are used in manual presses.
To achieve the well known softness that characterizes a panama hat, hat makers work on hammering each piece either manually or by using rustic machines.
The straw is dyed with special and non toxic pigments in order to get a nice variety of colors.
The Ecuadorian art of weaving the toquilla hats was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List on December 2012. Greenpacha honors this fine tradition and works towards its preservation. Each May on Mother’s day Greenpacha gives back 2% of our total sales to the weaving communities of Sig Sig, Ecuador.
Greenpacha collections are a fusion of design and Latin American traditions. Our values are based on fine ethics and aesthetics. We thrive to create products you will love and enjoy.
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